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DATE News (chronologically)
Latest F1 news in brief - Saturday
  • Hamilton 'welcome' to keep up pace at finale - Alonso
  • F1 debut in 2011 'would be nice' - Ricciardo
  • Qantas stays as Australian GP naming sponsor
  • Red Bull 'fools' to not use team orders - steward Pirro
  • Ecclestone furious at Schumacher photo no-show - reports
  • Brazilian report suspects Button attack 'hoax'
  • Hulkenberg reveals 'other options' for 2011

Hamilton 'welcome' to keep up pace at finale - Alonso
(GMM)  Fernando Alonso insists he is far from worried about Lewis Hamilton being the fastest runner in Abu Dhabi on Friday.

If the McLaren stays out front at Yas Marina this weekend, Ferrari driver Alonso's points lead over the chasing Red Bulls is potentially more secure as the final checkered flag of the season awaits.

"Anyone who can take 25 points away from the Red Bulls is welcome," the Spaniard is quoted by Blick newspaper.

Interestingly, Michael Schumacher sees Hamilton - who in order to win the title must win on Sunday with the other main contenders essentially failing to score - as a potential spoiler, and urged the Briton to play fair.

"Everyone is focused, experienced and professional enough to handle the situation with an absolutely fair racing spirit," he is quoted by the Mirror.

When asked about Hamilton's pace, the seven time world champion added: "I was talking about him when I spoke about making sure it was fair sport."

Triple world champion Sir Jackie Stewart rejected Schumacher's plea.

"I find that a strange thing for Michael to say," said the Scot.  "I am completely behind Lewis in charging in there."

F1 debut in 2011 'would be nice' - Ricciardo
(GMM)  Daniel Ricciardo is not ruling out a move into formula one next season.

Red Bull's F1 reserve driver finished the Renault World Series in second place in 2010, but Dr Helmut Marko said he is not sure what the Australian will be doing next year.

The 21-year-old will test the title-winning RB6 in Abu Dhabi next week, but the energy drinks company's four F1 race seats appear locked out for 2011.

"I think I achieved enough in world series this year to move on so I guess it's really GP2 or if something were to open up in F1 that would always be nice," Ricciardo is quoted by AAP news agency.

Qantas stays as Australian GP naming sponsor
(GMM)  Australian airline Qantas is staying put as the naming sponsor of next year's formula one race in Melbourne.

For the 2010 event, Qantas replaced departed sponsor ING, a Dutch bank.

"We are proud to renew our naming rights sponsorship," said CEO Alan Joyce.

Red Bull 'fools' to not use team orders - steward Pirro
(GMM)  Should 'team orders' be deployed in Sunday's 2010 championship finale, one of the stewards may not be voting to penalize the technically illegal practice.

When asked about whether Sebastian Vettel will be asked to move aside to help his Red Bull teammate Mark Webber win the drivers' title, driver representative Emanuele Pirro said: "They would be fools if they did not.

"We will monitor it and try to assess the situation," the Roman, earlier accused of being biased in favor of Ferrari, is quoted by La Stampa newspaper.

The key, Pirro said, is the execution of a team strategy.

"There are many ways for a driver to help the other, but it's perhaps naive to be using coded messages on the radio," he explained.

Within the paddock, there are few observers who believe a team with drivers in contention for the title should not be allowed to collaborate to prevent a rival team from winning the championship.

So former Ferrari driver Jean Alesi thinks Red Bull have been wrong to suggest that the drivers will be left entirely to their own devices.

"They are trapped because of the way they have discussed it," he told The National.  "They have tried to say they are clean and they don't do it, but that is misinformation.  It is not true.

"They will definitely use it," insisted the Frenchman.

Ferrari's team boss Stefano Domenicali also will not be complaining if Red Bull deploy a driver strategy on Sunday, denouncing the team orders saga as "nonsense".

"There are team orders in formula one because it is a team sport," he is quoted by Sport Bild.

"The rule cannot be controlled so it should be abolished.  And if it is believed that a team has harmed the sport, then section 151 of the Sporting Code still applies."

Even Red Bull's Helmut Marko thinks the prohibition of team orders in F1 is wrong.

"The paragraph should be reconsidered," the Austrian told sport1.de.  "Either it is valid and real penalties apply, or we do away with it entirely, which is probably more realistic."

Ecclestone furious at Schumacher photo no-show - reports
(GMM)  Bernie Ecclestone was furious on Friday when Michael Schumacher did not show up for F1's end-of-season photograph.

Amid the backdrop of the color-changing Yas Marina Hotel late on Friday, team bosses and all the drivers were summoned for a photograph with the international media.

But according to Blick newspaper, Schumacher - as well as Bruno Senna and Timo Glock - did not appear.

The report said Mercedes team boss Ross Brawn tried in vain to call Schumacher on his mobile phone.  "Has he retired again?" angry F1 chief executive Ecclestone is quoted as saying.

According to another report in Brazil's Globo, Senna apologized for not showing up, insisting that his team had not informed him in time after being summoned to the stewards to explain his practice incident with Lewis Hamilton.

Two explanations were given for Glock's absence, according to Globo.  The first was that he was having treatment for a sore foot, and the second that he was on the other side of the paddock and simply ran out of time to appear.

Brazilian report suspects Button attack 'hoax'
(GMM)  Sao Paulo authorities reportedly suspect that the attempted robbery or kidnapping involving Jenson Button's entourage last Saturday was a hoax.

According to Tuttosport newspaper, based on a report in the Brazilian news weekly Epoca, the authorities are investigating the matter and have discovered irregularities in the story.

"Various elements do not add up," read the Italian report.

Among the discrepancies is that the off-duty policeman driver did not make an official report about the incident, and no calls to emergency phone numbers were made.

Epoca, suspecting that the incident was staged for publicity by the security team protecting Button, wrote: "What really happened?"

A spokesman for the security organizers of the Interlagos race said: "We have no hard data to say what happened, if it happened."

Hulkenberg reveals 'other options' for 2011
(GMM)  Nico Hulkenberg has revealed that Williams is not his only option for the 2011 season.

Despite soaring to his maiden pole position a week ago in Brazil, the future of the German rookie is still clouded due to the British team not yet finalizing its 2011 lineup.

Williams is reportedly considering Pastor Maldonado, the new GP2 champion who carries as much as EUR 15 million in PDVSA sponsorship, for the seat.

Chief executive Adam Parr on Friday hinted in Abu Dhabi that some key decisions about the team's future have now been made.

"I have missed the last two races as I have been making sure we have the finances we need for next year, and we do," he said.

Parr insisted that Williams is in "great financial shape", but 23-year-old Hulkenberg appeared not to agree.

"Obviously they are struggling for some money," he told Gulf News.

Hulkenberg said Williams' driver decision will not be made until after Maldonado tests next week at the Yas Marina track.

"We have other options to go for other teams and races.  I can't name them or speak about it now.  But for me, the most important thing is to stay in formula one," he said.

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